This Day in History - August 17
2008: Jamaica’s team of Shelly-Ann Fraser, Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson finishes 1-2-2 in the women’s 100-m finals at the XXIV Olympiad in Beijing, China. The win makes Jamaica the first country in the world to accomplish a clean sweep of the medals in the event at the Olympics.
1743: Sweden cedes southern Finland to Russia in the Peace of Abo.
1759: British fleet under Admiral Boscawen defeats the French off Cape St Vincent in the West Indies. 1887: Black nationalist, philosopher, entrepreneur and the first person to be declared a national hero in Jamaica, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr is born in St Ann’s Bay.
1896: Gold is discovered in Klondike territory, Canada, attracting 100,000 adventurers in a two-year rush.
1945: Sukarno proclaims Indonesian independence, but it is refused by the Dutch.
1954: Two-thousand religious pilgrims drown in a flash flood at the Muslim shrine of the Imam Zadeh Davud in Farahzad, Iran.
1962: East German border guards shoot and kill an 18-year-old who attempted to cross over the Berlin Wall into the western sector.
1964: Congolese Premier Moise Tshombe appeals to five African nations to help put down rebellion in the Congo.
1972: - Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan offers an interim peace agreement with Egypt based on a truce line dividing the Sinai Peninsula.
1976: Tidal wave on Philippine island of Mindanao leaves estimated 8,000 people dead or missing.
1980: Diplomatic officials close the British Embassy in Iran because of hostile demonstrations.
1988: Pakistan's President Zia ul-Haq and US Ambassador Arnold Raphel are killed when their Pakistani military plane explodes.
1990: Iraq announces policy of holding foreign nationals in Iraq and Kuwait as human shields against attack.
1991: Italy repatriates the last of an estimated 18,000 Albanian refugees who arrived in southern Italy by boat earlier in the month. The Italian government admitted the offer of asylum was a ruse to persuade Albanians to give up their often-violent resistance. Only 154 refugees stayed in Italy.
1998: The impoverished Russian government devalues the ruble and defaults on billions of dollars in debt, causing a collapse in financial markets; President Clinton admits to an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
1999: A powerful 7.4 earthquake hits western Turkey, killing at least 17,200 and injuring more than 20,000. Officials estimate that the numbers are higher; many families buried relatives without notifying authorities.
2001: A protest in Guyana over the recent shooting deaths of three Muslims leave four persons dead after police open fire on the protesters.
2005: Russian navy ships and longrange bombers head to a Chinese peninsula jutting into the Yellow Sea for the first-ever joint military exercises between the two countries.
2006: Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemns a US airstrike that Afghan officials say killed 10 border policemen.
Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician (1601-1665); Jan III Sobieski, king of Poland (1629-1696); William Carey, English pioneer missionary (1761-1834); Marcus Garvey, Jamaican political leader/journalist/orator/philosopher (1887-1940); Mae West, US actress (1892-1980); Maureen O'Hara, Irish-born actress (1920-); V(idiadhar) S(urajprasad) Naipaul, Trinidadian writer (1932-); Robert DeNiro, US actor (1943-); Sean Penn, US actor (1960-).
— Jamaica Observer and AP